Creating Comfort

By Megan Browning

For owners Leslie and Joel Frieman, transforming a vacant warehouse into a world class fencing facility suited for all ages and abilities required ingenuity and foresight. With tall ceilings and a blank slate, comfort for athletes was one of the Friemans’ key goals when building their school, The Woodlands Fencing Academy.

In order to achieve that comfort, the walls and ceiling were padded with R38 insulation and two 7-and-a-half-ton HVAC systems were installed. “We need to keep it cool because fencers wear so much protective gear,” Facility Manager Kathy Bone said. “When no one is in there, we keep it at 75F. For practice, we like it to be at 72 [to] 73F and for a tournament, I will turn it down to 69 [to] 70F.” To help maintain the necessary temperatures and provide quiet, gentle air movement, a high-volume, low-speed (HVLS) fan was added to complement the AC system. HVLS fans increase air velocity to create a more comfortable environment for occupants, regardless of the space.

In warmer months, these fans improve personal comfort with an evaporative cooling effect — although the fans do not lower the temperature in the space, they can make a person feel up to 10F cooler. As a result, facility managers are able to raise the thermostat setpoint without sacrificing comfort, reducing cooling costs. “We were afraid utility bills would be around $1,000, but with the help of the fan, we have found them to be significantly lower," Bone said. "We are very, very happy.” Not reminiscent of a typical gym, The Woodlands Fencing Academy prides itself on being a functional but sophisticated fencing facility. “The fan makes the building look like a piece of art," Bone adds. "The aesthetics are beautiful and it does its job moving the air to create a comfortable environment.”

Megan Browning is a public relations associate at Big Ass Fans, the preeminent designer and manufacturer of ceiling fans for industrial, agricultural, commercial and residential settings.

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